Is the notebook dead?

Debossed Notebook ArticleiPads, Tablets, Netbooks, Kindles, Touch Screens, Galaxies. These shiny monoliths have streamlined our lives. So when it comes to the humble notebook – who would want something twice the weight, and double the size of any smartphone?

Notebooks are objects of such rudimentary function. They can’t tell you the weather, they don’t play games, and don’t have news articles. They can only tell you, what you have told it. Moreover, our devices already have their own note-taking possibilities, with infinite ‘pages’ and a backed up copy, waiting for you in ‘the cloud’. So surely, the notebook is finished, obsolete?

Amongst our smartphones in our bags, there are still many of us who make room for our notebooks, including Mr. Richard Branson. But why? Well, their survival may lie in two things. Their personality, and their simplicity.

If you swipe through two iPhones from separate owners, there will be little difference between the two (apart from the order in which the apps have been painstakingly organised). Flick through two notebooks from different owners, and the true personality of that person comes to life.

The notebook is a truly personal object. And still superiorly more customisable. Our terrible hand-writing, our pointless doodles and obvious mistakes. Our greatest idea scribbled in between two different seminar notes, or photos tacked-in at the back, meaningless yet meaning the world to us.

Sure, notebooks can’t load, upload, sync, download, or even restart. But they don’t need to. They’re truly disconnected, and distraction-free. Notebooks won’t run out of battery, and don’t need a software update. They’re always there for you. Paper and pen. The only update you ever need, is a new notebook.

Before you turn off your device, scribble your next great idea in a notebook from The City Works.


Article by Rowan Ottesen, Co-founder of The City Works.